For some reason my mind cannot grasp that today is September 11th. Has it really been TEN years since September 11, 2001, where America's carefree persona was radically shaken with harsh realities that "Yes, this is ACTUALLY happening to us?" Seriously, I can remember this day like it was yesterday.
It was Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, 7:30 am, and I was riding my bike to school like any other ordinary day. I got just outside our complex and I knew something about this day was wrong. Any other day there would be cars backed up all the way down the stree to our complex. Kids would be walking on the sidewalks. Pedestrians would be waiting to cross at each corner of the intersection. Cars would be honking, thinking it would help them get to school faster, and also trying to beat every other car on the street to their child's school. Unlike any other day, however, this would be the atmosphere on my way to school. This day, was different. I remember thinking to myself, "Why are there NO cars on the road? Where is EVERYBODY?" Because literally, there were no cars out driving on the road. And let me tell you, Foothill Blvd. is a BUSY street!! The crazy parents rushing to get their kids to school were no longer on the street. No pedestrians were walking. Nobody, it seemed like, but me.
It seemed like one of those scary movies, where you wake up, go along with your normal routine, gets the keys out of your purse, but while doing so you catch a glimpse of the sky and it's all gray and errie, smoke clouds everywhere. Buildings are torn down. Tops of buildings are falling off, fires are burning. And suddenly you realize that you are the only person left on planet Earth. However, in my dreams, I usually wake and my whole family has turned into cockroaches and are rushing towards me slowly, and I wake up panting for breath, scared to DEATH! Yes, I am serious. This is my WORST nightmare. You now can tell how much I HATE cockroaches. ANYWAYS...this was how the streets were in my city: abandoned, bare, and lonely. It didn't even take me ten minutes to get to school. When my ASB class began, my first period, I then realized why everything seemed gloomy: America had been hit with a terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York. And BAM, just like that, my generation had an occurence in our lifetime that would make EVERY history book from now on.
I was only in eighth grade at the time and did not really grasp the whole concept of freedom. Not that I was dumb and did not know what this meant, however, I did not realize why this was such a BIG deal. I grew up with priviledge. Let me specify what I mean by this. I never knew what it meant that I lived in a country where we have freedom. Freedom of speech, freedom to make decisions, freedom to go anywhere I want within our country's bounds, all by my own will and choosing. No one has any objections to what I do, within the law of course, because of this freedom. Being in eighth grade, I did not TRULY know this. We did not grow up being enforced how lucky we are for having this kind of priviledge.
Now being 23 and married to a Sailor, I realize just how BIG of a deal this is. To have a military that fights and protects us each and every day; through holidays, birthdays, big life events, anniversaries, there are no day when there is not someone working. They are behind the scenes and behind everything we do without us truly knowing it. Before Adam joined the military, I truly admit that I was still naive. But a lot of us are. Whether we are ignorant, naive, or anaware, we take their service for granted. Now, I live through what it means to have to sacrifice time with your loved one, so they can keep our nation free and protected, and most importantly keep every individual privileged with freedom. Man, is that a sacrifice! It is a hard sacrifice, not only for me, but for my military man, too. You may think we have it hard (the wives, fiances, girl friends, and mothers) but we often times forget that they have it just as hard. It is not that they want to be away from us; they want to be here, TRUST ME!! However, they are doing what they signed up to do: keep us safe, bottom line. And for that reason, and that reason alone, I am so thankful for EVERY man and woman who will sacrifice their time with their family and their lives, to ensure ALL of us are safe. Man that is HUGE! Do you really get that? They deserve so much more respect than what so many of us show them!
Now that I am educated about my freedom, I have chosen to live my life thankful, forever grateful, blessed, and honored for everything they do for us who are priviledged to be called Americans. I am no longer naive, and that is a choice that I have decided to make, and that you can, too.
Here is a song by Toby Keith called American Soldier. Everything this song says is pretty much what I just wrote above (but I did not know the song existed until I went on youtube. It's good!!) Please, watch it on youtube. Listen to the words. It is so touching to me and I think it will be for you as well (read the first comment when you watch the video, so touching! ♥).
Today we remember the lives that were lost, that gloomy day. Lives that were lost admist helping others and lives lost admist the sudden impact. I pray for those families who lost a family memember, friend, relative, neighbor, significant other, etc. Their lives will never be forgotten. We remember them on this day, and everyday.
Thank you for your service, SA AO Zickefoose. I'm so proud to call you my husband and hero! ♥ I miss you and love you, but know you are serving us well!!
In honor of September 11th, 2001.